Books / Reviews

Book review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Heather Morris.

It’s not often I cry, it’s even less that I cry at books. 

Not crying is a form of stoicism I developed growing up to deal with bullying. Show no weakness. It’s a loose parallel to the characters in this book, yet their stories seem so far removed from everyday life, it seems purely fictional. This couldn’t have possibly happened. 

“If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.”

the tattooist of auschwitz, heather morris

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a tale of tragedy, brutality and loss – but overwhelmingly an example of innate human instinct, strong will and love. I read it in 3 days. 

The ending, and this is all I will say, has moments where you believe it is too good to be true – written only to fill you with fictional hope. But the ending is not because of fate, it comes from a stubborn resolve and will to live. 

I won’t go into further detail as I don’t want to unravel the book to you. I wish I could say this is a complete work of fiction by Morris, but the stories in this book are heart-sinkingly true. 

It is when Gary Solokov (I won’t tell you his relevance) begins his story that the tear trickled from my cheek. Every inch of this book solidified in truth and reality. To think this happened in people’s lifetimes. 

How anyone could endure the brutality and inhumanity of what happened between 1939 and 1945 I will never be able to comprehend, however I stand firm in hoping that we as a species never let anything like this ever happen again. My great nan, fast approaching 96, recalls her time during the War. But again, it all seems too far fetched – a time that only exists in hushed words, films and books.

“How can someone do this to another human being? He wonders if for the rest of his life, be it short or long, he will be defined by this moment, this irregular number: 32407.”


I implore you to read this. To look at your own will and mindset. What Lale and Gita will never know is the mark that Morris has helped them leave behind. When something feels to hard or too difficult, I am sure to think back to this book and hope I can do more. 

“you will honor them by staying alive, surviving this place and telling the world what happened here.”